We vegetarians and vegans try so hard to be kind to animals and the earth by not eating meat and animal byproducts. It is our obligation and commitment as devoted vegetarians and vegans to do our best to live cruelty-free.
Some say it is nearly impossible to live a 100% vegan lifestyle. That may be true given the way animals and animal byproducts are used in everyday products, and how difficult it is to tell sometimes whether products and foods are completely vegan.
So here is a helpful list of non-vegan and non-vegetarian items that you may think are actually vegan to help guide you! (Some are more surprising than others)
Meat and Dairy Substitute Products
Don’t get me wrong, I love most of my meat and dairy substitute brands just as much as the next vegetarian, but many of their meat substitute products are not vegan friendly, and even some lactose substitute products contain dairy!
- MorningStar Farms sausages contain egg whites and skim milk.
- Boca Burgers contain egg whites, and some even contain cheese.
- Soy cheeses often contain casein, from milk, but are “lactose-free” which is not the same thing as “dairy-free.”
Clothing & Fabric
- Your leather or suede belts, shoes, purses and furniture are obviously derived from animals. While some say you should exchange these for vegan options right away, it is my personal opinion that you should use them until they are just impossible to use anymore, ragged with holes. That way the animal’s life is not wasted, and you can make the commitment to purchase only non-animal accessories and furniture in the future.
- Your wool, partial-wool or down blankets, pillows and comforters are derived from sheep and goose byproducts. The animals shouldn’t be harmed in order to obtain the wool or down, but PETA will be the first to tell you that’s not always a guarantee. There is no way to know where the wool or down come from, so play it safe and go another route.
Miscellaneous Food Items
- Trident gum and many other chewing gums contain casein
- Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies
- Canned vegetarian soups often contain honey
- Junior Mints, Starburst, Skittles and similar candies all contain gelatin
- Some Guinness and other brand beers isinglass in the brewing process
That’s a short list of surprisingly non-vegan products that have easy-to-overlook ingredients that are not, in fact, vegan. What are some other products or foods that surprised you by not being vegan or vegetarian? Share in the comments below!